Summer is here and with it comes all of the pressure and stress of adjusting to a new normal. While it can be easy to let all of the stress consume you, it doesn’t have to. This year I am trying a new approach to summer in hopes of spending less time stressed out. I want to share some summer mom tips with you. Make sure to check out some of the tips and ideas I have to help you thrive this summer.
Summer Mom Tips
Please keep in mind that these are tips based on our experience. Tweak them to better accommodate how you run your home and care for your family.
Let’s start with rhythm
My social coach that I learn a lot from talks a great deal about rhythm. Not the kind of rhythm that makes you a good dancer though. Instead, he talks about ditching routines and finding your rhythm. I’ve been working on finding my social rhythm but I’ve also been applying this to my mothering journey.
As moms we get a school year rhythm. Get the kids up. Get them to school. Do what we have to during the day. Run to twenty million things and keep up with all the homework. It’s a constant rush in the same direction. Then summer hits and puts that rhythm into shambles.
It doesn’t have to though. Knowing that it’s about rhythm, let’s not spend the next month dancing on two left feet. Instead, let’s start by finding a new rhythm for our summer mom life. Let’s skip the stressful part and find our summer mom rhythm. I have some tips and pointers for you to help you find that rhythm and I will also share what we’re doing.
One of the traps mom fall into is the need to plug kids into tv, video games, and phones as a way to keep them busy during summer. I get it. I have had my, “I can do it today, let’s watch a show.” days more than I would like to admit. However, I didn’t want technology to run our summer so we set some clear boundaries around here for the coming months.
1 hour is free
The first hour of technology is completely free for the kids. That means they can watch a show, play on their phones, or play video games for a total of an hour in the day. Anything after that has to be earned. I am not saying they get one hour a day with no extra. Instead, they get one hour that doesn’t come at a price.
Tech-free activities gain tech time
Activities such as cleaning, reading time, playing outside, playing kindly with siblings, and more screen-free activities will earn the kids tech time. It’s a natural incentive for them to unplug in order to earn the right to unplug. The fun thing about this is that they get so distracted with the unplugged options, that they forget they are doing it for tech time.
Have clear-cut values
Having the ability to earn tech time is a great option but it’s really important that you set a value for what they earn and what they have to do to earn it. Without that, you are more liable to see issues arise.
Chores and Cleaning
In our house, the parents both work. The kids don’t have school which we often call their job. So we have agreed that they are both responsible for working in the way of picking up some of the chores around here. Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a Cinderella before the fairy godmother situation. That said, their responsibilities will change because they are in the house more and they get to help clean more.
When it comes to summer rhythm, lay out some honest chore expectations for the kids. These can be daily or weekly tasks. A lot will depend on how you run your home and what your summer plans typically look like. There are countless chore systems out there but we find a simple daily task list has worked for us. It gives us the freedom to customize tasks based on plans.
The second summer starts kids have this insane idea that parents are going to plan a million adventures filled with all the fun they believed they missed during the school year. Guess what. This is NOT operation entertain the kids. You can make memories with your kids without this insane obsession with making every moment magical.
Be honest with your kids about the things you will and will not be doing this summer. Do you have a trip planned? Do you have certain events on the roster? Tell them. Just make sure they are aware of the fact that there will be down days as well.
Challenge kids to find their adventures and fun. Build a fort. Plan a backyard camp out. Write a book. Create something fun. Have a laugh. Summer is the perfect time to give kids the freedom to be kids instead of filling every moment.
There might be messes. There might be mistakes. This is when it is a good time to teach them to clean up their messes.
I want to challenge you this summer, Don’t clean their messes and entertain their boredom. Let your kids be kids but teach them responsibility for their actions as well.
Take advantage of summer programs
While you don’t have to go to all of the things on the planet, there are some great ones out there. I know our local library has three different summer reading programs. I plan to have mine read an hour a day on days when we don’t have plans so this will be a natural fit for them. Summer camps, get-togethers, and local discount nights for attractions in your area can be a great way to bring the summer fun without breaking the bank.
Worried about the summer heat? Check out Science museums with reciprocal membership options that will get you out of the house without being in the heat. It’s also a great time to take advantage of free summer bowling and cheap summer movies.
Trade off with other parents
I know it can get overwhelming to have the kids in and out of the fridge all day for snacks and asking you to entertain them. Sometimes we just need a break. Talk to a mom friend and ask if she is willing to trade a day with you. You take her kids for a day so she can get a break and then on a different day, she takes yours for a day so you can get a break.
This can help you to relax and bring your best you to the days when they are home.
Take advantage of free learning opportunities!
My kids are big into artwork lately and there are some fabulous art lessons on YouTube. The summer months are perfect for investing some time into these interests. Even better, most of these classes don’t require much from you if you can have them take them in a common area where you can help them to filter video for what’s appropriate and what isn’t.
Are you worried about the financial implications of summer?
I know that not every family comes from a fantastic financial background. Having kids home can be hard on the budget because it means a different amount of food or childcare expenses.
There is a free summer meal program you can look to to help you to save money on at least a meal a day if needed to keep you afloat financially.
Find more information – https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks
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